John Hossie Stratford-Perth Archives
158 John St.
John Hossie, sheriff
Chattelle, hands manacled, (middle) passes the Perth County courthouse on his way to coroner's inquest. Sheriff John Hossie (left) Stratford police constable, McCarthy, accompany the prisoner. Stratford-Perth Archives
John Hossie was involved with the sensational trial and execution of Amédée Chattelle, who brutally murdered 13-year-old Jessie Keith. Hossie was among those who boarded a train to the swampy wood where Jessie was found on the night of the murder. He severely restricted press access, and also escorted the prisoner to the trial and gallows. See Trial and Execution The Trial and Execution of Amédée Chattelle, Stratford 1895
Photo: Stratford-Perth Archives
Sheriff Hossie eulogized in the Beacon
The Stratford Daily Beacon carried news of the death of John Hossie on Page 1 on Monday, May 6, 1907. What follows are excerpts from the story.
The opening of the article mentions how news the death spread rapidly through the city with "manifestations on every side of sorrow" about the passing of the man who had become a "landmark in the county's history."
It was reported that Hossie suffered for some time from Bright's' disease, which had made "inroads on his splendid constitution," though he remained "conscious, cheerful and patient up to the last." Bright's disease is a historical classification of kidney diseases that are described in modern medicine as acute or chronic nephritis. It was characterized by swelling and the presence of albumin in the urine, and was frequently accompanied by high blood pressure and heart disease.
Hossie was described as a disciplinarian of the strictest type, who nevertheless was the most kind-hearted of men; those who knew him best, respected him most. He was the very soul of honour and could not countenance the slightest departure in anybody else from the code that he believed in.
The article noted that he had a strong desire to do right and to have right done. Although he was a Liberal, he was always impartial and fair. Public trust was with him a public trust and he fulfilled the trust to the letter.
Hossie was considered one of the model sheriffs of the province, but in addition to his duties in the sheriff's office and in the court, he was lauded for his work in establishing the City of Stratford General Hospital (see John Street) in 1889. The hospital was later known as Avon Crest, when a new hospital was built. He was the first chairman of the hospital trust, and it was noted he retired only a couple of years ago. The article noted he managed at great personal sacrifice to make daily visits to the hospital and and left nothing undone that would "promote its beneficent objects and financial welfare."
On a personal level, the article noted he was a sociable man with the faculty of winning and retaining friends. His home life was described as ideal. He loved horses and drove, for many years, one of the most spirited teams in the county. It also noted that a monument to his regard for children was the Stratford skating rink (see Water Street), the largest in the province, which was erected under his presidency and management to mainly provide a place of innocent amusement for the youth of the town. Source: Death of Mr. Sheriff Hossie, in Stratford Daily Beacon, Monday, May 6, 1907; Stratford-Perth Archives